EPS media advisor is breaking down barriers on bringing awareness to domestic violence 

Scott Pattison speaking to the public in Edmonton, as part of his work as a media relations advisor with EPS.Former journalist Scott Pattison found his true calling as a media relations advisor working with domestic violence issues, but the subject is more difficult to work with as a single father to three kids.

When he was younger, Pattison had hopes of joining the RCMP but was not allowed due to a stipulation against eyeglasses at the time.

After being introduced to the world of journalism by well-known hockey writer and cousin Alan Strachan, he started to cover everything from the NHL to police cases.

He eventually became the senior reporter at the Edmonton Sun in 2000, a copy desk editor at the Edmonton Sun, and then taught journalism at MacEwan University.

After the long hours and time away from home, Pattison decided to move away from reporting and into communications work to ensure he could be involved in his children’s activities.

First working in the union sector as a communications assistant then becoming a communications director, he switched to working as a media relations advisor with the Edmonton Police Service – a position that means being in front of cameras and sharing information with the public.

“It took me 20 years to find out my calling, where I am supposed to be. And I truly believe this is where I’m meant to be,” said Pattison. “There’s a lot of grim reality you have to deal with but you’re also doing your best to keep your community safe.”

After seeing the influx in domestic violence files and sitting in on numerous conference calls with other police services, Pattison became more involved with the issue of domestic violence.Illustration by Skye Anderson with images courtesy of Scott Pattison

His influential project, the Speak Out campaign, used a variety of posters, television commercials and social media to encourage all community members to report domestic violence issues or concerns.

The posters for the campaign featured an array of women covered in bruises and their mouths covered with tape.

“They can’t speak so we need to speak on their behalf,” said Pattison.

His work in domestic violence did not go unnoticed, with the campaign being recognized by the Ragan’s PR Daily Video Awards as the 2013 Best TV Advertising Campaign in North America. That success contributed to the campaign continuing last year and this year.

The campaign was also introduced into numerous high schools to create awareness of domestic violence for young adults entering their first serious relationship.

“We’re trying to break down barriers.” Pattison added, “Trying to kind of motivate them to take a hands on approach to domestic violence.”

The Speak Out Campaign used a combination of posters, social media, and television ads to promote awareness of domestic violence and encourages community members to speak on behalf of those who can’t. Poster photo by Dan Riedlhuber, courtesy of Scott PattisonThis hands-on approach working with such difficult subject matter has posed more of a challenge for Pattison, who is a parent to three children – two sons, 15 and 17, and his youngest, a daughter, who is 12. That’s because he works with a large amount of domestic files involving youth of similar ages.

“Those take their toll on you and keep you awake sometimes and because those are our most vulnerable members of our community– children, seniors, that kind of thing,” Pattison said.

Pattison has still managed to find a good balance to ensure he spends time around his own family. Coaching his son’s hockey teams is a way he manages the stress of such high intensity issues.

“We all hopefully have mechanisms to deal with that stuff… You just have to take your time away, but I mean, its part of the job of what we do,” said Pattison.

Thumbnail photo by Michael James/EPS, courtesy of Scott Pattison

tducklow@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Skye Anderson and can be contacted at sanderson@cjournal.ca